Chile utility E-CL eyes gas sales to Argentina

Tue May 3, 2011 1:44pm EDT

 SANTIAGO, May 3 (Reuters) - Chilean utility E-CL EDN.SN
said on Tuesday it hopes to pipe gas to neighboring Argentina
from an LNG terminal in Chile's far north.
 Chile has faced an energy squeeze in recent months after a
drought hit hydroelectric generation, and has historically
imported gas from Argentina. However, Chile's weather forecasts
are improving and hydroelectric reserves are rising.
 "We are interested in exporting gas," CEO Lodewijk Verdeyen
told a business forum in the capital, Santiago.
 "There are still some issues to resolve, interaction
between Chile and Argentina's governments to make it possible,
a couple of regulatory tasks," he said. "It will depend on
whether Argentina is interested in buying gas and at what
price."
 The LNG terminal in Mejillones serves the far northern
grid, which powers miners in the copper-rich Atacama desert and
relies on thermoelectric plants fired by coal, gas and diesel.
 E-CL is majority owned by French energy giant GDF Suez
(GSZ.PA). Shares of E-CL were up 3.5 percent in Santiago on
Tuesday at 1,278 pesos each.
 (Reporting by Fabian Cambero; Editing by Dale Hudson)


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